SKIP the Salt, Help the Heart
SKIP the Salt, Help the Heart is a pilot project based in Kansas City, Missouri aimed at raising awareness about the importance of reducing salt intake from prepackaged and fast foods.
Since 2000, Missouri has been part of a national effort led by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to address the pressing public health issues of heart disease and stroke. Nationally, heart disease is the number one killer of Americans. Stroke is the third leading cause of death. In the United States, nearly 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to high blood pressure. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in Missouri. In 2011, 13,746 Missourians died from heart disease, an additional 3,010 died from stroke, and 458 died from essential hypertension (high blood pressure).
As part of the state-based initiative, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) formed the Sodium Knowledge in Practice (SKIP) Partnership in 2011. SKIP is a statewide alliance of community, academic and public health groups and professionals working to reduce the health and financial burdens of excess sodium intake in Missouri. Funded by the CDC and in collaboration with MOCAN and other partners, we help Missourians make better, lower sodium food choices by focusing on three areas — community education, policy change and environmental interventions.
NEW! Information and updates
- New Sodium Listserv: CSPI is launching a sodium listserv to discuss research and strategies to reduce sodium consumption. We encourage NSRI partners to join this exciting new forum – Click here to sign up.
- Federal Menu Labeling: The FDA will require U.S. restaurants and similar retail food establishments with 20 or more locations to post calories by December 1, 2015. The covered food establishments will have to post calories on menus and menu boards and provide other nutrition information, including sodium, if requested.
- Sodium Content in Packaged Foods: A new article, Sodium content in major brands of U.S. packaged foods, 2009, published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition surveyed sodium content (per serving, per 100 g, and per kcal) of nearly 8,000 packaged foods. Meat mixed dishes had the highest average sodium per serving, salad dressing had the highest average sodium per 100 g, and soup had the highest sodium per kcal. Additionally, more than half of the products in 11 of the 20 food categories had sodium amounts higher than the requirement for the FDA “healthy” label claim.
- Read the letter to Sylvia Burwell, Secretary, United States Department of Health and Human Services, urging federal action on sodium. The letter was signed and supported by 31 state and local health agencies and organizations, including MoCAN.
SKIP launched a communications campaign to raise awareness about the role sodium plays in heart health. The campaign includes a mass media component, public relations, a corner store intervention and community education.
More information on campaign events is available on the SKIP the Salt Facebook page.
Why is sodium a problem?
In 2009, over 30% of all Missouri adults reported they have high blood pressure. Eating too much sodium can increase blood pressure, which is the leading cause for stroke and a major cause for heart attack. It is also a major risk factor for kidney disease. Reducing sodium intake lowers blood pressure.
How much salt is too much?
Most Americans eat much more sodium than they should, and most of the sodium Americans eat comes from packaged or processed foods. Did you know the average American eats over 3,400 mg of sodium a day? That’s about a teaspoon and a half full of salt. Your doctor can tell you what amount is best for you.
The top 7 salty foods
Most Americans eat more salt than they should. The main sources of salt in the average African American diet are:
- Breads and rolls
- Hot dogs and sausages
- Cold cut meats
- Chips and pretzels
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), Vital Signs: Food Categories Contributing the Most to Sodium Consumption (Table 2)—United States, 2007–2008, February 10, 2012 / 61(05); 92-98.
How to read the label
Eating too much salt leads to high blood pressure. Reading labels can help. Compare labels and choose foods with less sodium. Look for items that have 230 mg or less of sodium per serving.
For more advice on label reading, check out this label reading guide from American Heart Association.
Want to learn more about sodium? Watch this YouTube video from the Department of Health and Senior Services:
You can find this video online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tT3CzGQ66KU
- 7 Salty Myths Busted (Infographic from American Heart Association)
- Skip the Salt, Help the Heart Campaign on Facebook
- The American Heart Association
- Million Hearts®
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention – Salt
Local corner stores, businesses and organizations in Missouri and Greater Kansas City are recognizing the role health plays in a community’s overall quality of life and economic well-being. The SKIP Partnership wants to hear from you! Contact us through MOCAN or Kris Kummerfeld.